Hardwood Floor Repairs: 5 Tips for Successful Site-Finish Repair
Repairing and refinishing hardwood flooring isn't easy, but it certainly isn't impossible. Time, patience, and the proper tools are all required for successful hardwood flooring repair. The following are five great tips for ensuring a successful, safe, and timely repair project. Enjoy!
Disclaimer:It's very easy to damage surrounding boards, so make sure to get expert advice if you attempt DIY hardwood floor repair, especially if you've never attempted it before. If you aren't familiar or comfortable with the tools or techniques described below, call a professional.
1. Cut carefully.
Removing the damaged board is the first step in any hardwood flooring repair process. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most difficult. If you improperly cut the damaged boards you run the risk of splitting or damaging the surrounding boards, which can be a time-consuming and costly mistake. Here's how to make sure you are removing the damaged board and nothing more:
Use a circular saw to make two cuts approximately 1/2" from each side of the board, making sure to not cut past the end joints. Different boards will require a different saw depth, but many use a basic 3/4".
Make a third cut at an angle between the first two cuts, again remembering to not cut through the side match.
Use a sharp chisel to pop out the cut pieces, being careful to not force any piece that isn't fully cut as this could splinter the surrounding boards.
2. Clean thoroughly.
After the piece is removed, thoroughly clean the area of any dirt and debris. Sweep, vacuum - whatever it takes. If there is any debris in the area the replacement board will be more difficult to fit back in and could cause a tripping hazard once the board is set.
3. Make it a match.
The best way to ensure a uniform appearance after repairing a section of hardwood flooring is to pick a replacement board that has a similar grain pattern as the surrounding boards. If you can, use a board leftover from the installation process. If that's not available, contact the company that handled your installation and see if they have any spare boards they can give you to match your floor.
4. Be quick about it!
Epoxy - the glue you use to attach replacement boards to the floor - can dry quickly. Very quickly. Some epoxies can dry in as little as ten minutes. This leaves you a very short window of opportunity in which you can correctly fit the new board in place. If you've measured and cut correctly, this shouldn't be a problem. However, if you apply the epoxy and find out your board doesn't fit, you have a whole new problem on your hands.
5. Sand and finish.
Once the epoxy is dry and the board is set you can sand and finish the area. Don't overdo it, though - the board should only be sanded so that it is level with the surrounding boards. As far as finishes go, try to use the same type that was used during the original installation process, otherwise your floor will have a visible discoloration. If you don't know the exact finish that was used, contact the installation company that handled the project. They should have the information on record.
Yes, site-finish hardwood floor repair is something an experienced DIYer can handle, assuming they have the right tools and know-how. If you have any questions about the repair process, or you are uncomfortable with any of the tools required, call a professional.
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